CORD Leader Raila Odinga with Gor Mahia and Harambee Stars striker Michael Olunga who scored Kenya’s winner in their 1-0 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier victory over Cape Verde on Friday at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi. Raila Odinga has congratulated the team for the odds-defying performance. | image source: citizentv.co.ke
CORD Leader Raila Odinga has congratulated Harambee Stars for defeating Cape Verde in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier match that was played at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Friday.
Kenya moved one step towards progressing to the qualifier group stages after Gor Mahia striker Michael Olunga’s 10th minute goal proved enough to overcome the Blue Sharks.
In a statement to the Press from London, Raila hailed the resilience and determination Harambee Stars in overcoming many challenges to defeat a team ranked higher way higher than them.
“I take this opportunity to congratulate our National Soccer Team, Harambee Stars for a brilliant performance yesterday in the first leg of the FIFA 2018 World Cup knock-out tie against Cape Verde played in Nairobi. The 1-0 victory against one of the top ranked African Nations in the FIFA rankings was a show of resilience and determination by our boys who despite the many challenges they are facing, put their Nation first to make the country proud,” Raila said.
The former Prime Minister also had kind words for Harambee Stars captain and Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama for steering the nation to victory.
“I want to thank the Captain Mr. Victor Wanyama for steering his team to victory and pray that come Tuesday when they go to Cape Verde, they will continue lifting our flag high and qualify to the group stages of the World Cup qualifiers.”
Raila was however saddened by the fact that the players took to the pitch without having being paid their allowances and he also lamented about some foreign-based players not being able to make it to the match because they could not afford to pay for their air tickets as the federation had requested them to do.
“However, I have learnt with shock that the team’s morale in training camp is low as the players have not been paid their allowances. It is also dismaying to learn that foreign-based players have had to make their own travel arrangements to come and represent their country in international duty and have not been refunded their money. Some of the foreign-based players could not even make this weekend’s assignment.”
“Most appalling is the six months arrears the National Team Coach Mr. Bob Williamson is owed in terms of salary and allowances. Whereas the government declared to take charge of the affairs of National Teams in 2013, the Coach has not been paid for the last six months despite his concerted effort to ensure the National Team performs well in international assignments.”
Raila also urged the government through the Ministry of Sports to ensure that Harambee Stars players are well taken care of. He asked the President to walk the talk after he had taken an undertaking that the government will be in charge of the national team.
“The government must not frustrate the National Team. The Ministry of Sports should ensure the national team including the technical bench is well taken care of by promptly paying the coaches’ salaries and players’ allowances which todate run close to Ksh. 100,000 per player. The President gave the undertaking that the government will take charge of all National Teams; he must walk the talk to end the suffering the players are going through.”
The former Langata MP ended his statement by declaring his unwavering support for Harambee Stars and wished them all the best in the return leg on Tuesday next week.